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Sat, Mar 22, 1997

Dalai Lama in Taiwan and earthquake in Tibet; Tung appoints 3 task forces; frustration with hand over preparations; boning up on colony's facts; and more . . .

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Taiwan: the Dalai Lama arrived in Gaoxiong, Taiwan yesterday reports CNN. The leader of the exiled Tibetan government ducked questions about the objections from mainland China on his visit to the island. Arriving amid both crowds of protestors and supporters of his trip he stepped onto Chinese soil for the first time since 1959. "Taiwan's pro-unification Labor Party accused the Dalai Lama, revered as a Buddhist god-king in Tibet, of disguising a political visit as a religious one," writes CNN.

The Dalai Lama said he looks forward to a meeting with President Lee Tung-hui, so long as it does not cause embarrassment for the president. He also will emphasize a common theme of his: the importance of cultivating one's spiritual self, especially in such a materialistic and consumer oriented economy as Taiwan. The Dalai Lama is staying in Fouguangshan ("Mountain of Buddha's Light") temple in Gaoxiong .

The New York Times has an article on the trip, and it's considerably better than the CNN one, although they both provide essentially the same information.

CNN provides two links:

(Note: the New York Times on-line edition is free, but requires that users register a name and password, and therefore first-time users should first introduce themselves on the Times registration page.)

Earthquake: of course there is no connection, but a recent earthquake in Tibet might be symbolic of the rumblings that the Dalai Lama's six-day visit to Taiwan is causing in Beijing.

Hong Kong: as the hand-over of the colony nears the 100-day mark we are getting more signs of what Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa will emphasize on his agenda. Yesterday he established "three task forces, each headed by one of his chosen executive councillors, to help formulate policies on housing, education and care for the elderly," reports the South China Morning Post.

Some points made by Tung yesterday:

  • "In the 21st century, competition will not be based on products and service alone. The emphasis will be on intellectual power and skills---a sound education system is the key."

  • "Decent living conditions at a reasonable price are immensely important for Hong Kong's social stability and competitiveness."

  • "While we look into the future for growth and prosperity, we must not forget the elderly members of our community."

The paper reports, "Mr Tung denied the move [to establish the three task forces] was a step towards a ministerial, or semi-ministerial, system of government."

Hong Kong: the head of the British side of the Joint Liaison Group (JLG) has "admitted frustration and disappointment over yet another failure in attempts to resolve differences with China over the right of abode in Hong Kong," reports the South China Morning Post. Many outstanding issues need to be resolved before the July 1 hand over, including ones concerning air-link agreements and Hong Kong citizens with the right of abode in other nations, as well as formalities concerning the hand over ceremonies.

Hong Kong: the colony's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has cracked open a credit-card fraud racket.

Hong Kong: for those who need some facts about the Crown Colony Reuters has compiled a few.

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China Informed

a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day